Everyone experiences stress, sadness, and anxiety at some point in their lives. But when these emotions become a pattern, lasting for months on end, and begin to negatively impact various aspects of your life, it has probably become a deeper issue.
Depression affects around 6.9% of adult Americans, while 18.1% of adult Americans are affected by anxiety. Less than half of those struggling with their mental health receive professional help – a number we hope to increase by breaking the stigma surrounding counseling and answer the common questions that people have about therapy.
What Is Counseling?
Counseling is a form of treatment aimed at relieving emotional distress and building positive habits regarding your mental health.
Mental health is often approached from a treatment perspective, but it can also be approached in a preventative way by making you aware of problematic trends in your emotional well-being that have the potential to grow into bigger issues.
Some people feel ashamed of needing help with their mental health, and think they’re ‘weak’ for having anxiety or depression. But these things are not signs of weakness or things you should brush aside and ignore. Looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health–no one is considered weak for needing help when they break a bone or catch a cold.
Depression or Anxiety?
Since depression and anxiety involve the same chemicals in the brain, they often go hand-in-hand. There are some distinct differences between the two conditions, however, which can be helpful for you to know.
The biggest difference between depression and anxiety is also what unifies them – people become removed from the present moment. The difference is that depression often deals with past events, while anxiety is a worrying fixation on future events.
They both interfere with one’s sense of purpose and meaning, as well as setting and achieving life goals.
Depression is an extreme, long-term sadness, caused by a combination of biological, psychological, social, environmental, and genetic factors. Some symptoms include:
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
- Irritability and restlessness
- Less interest in hobbies or activities
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Less energy
- Simple tasks feeling overwhelming
- Physical pain
Anxiety is excessive nervousness and fear. Often, it is the accumulation of several small traumas that result in generalized anxiety. Some symptoms include:
- Feeling ‘on-edge’
- Uncontrollable feelings of worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Panic attacks
- Changes in sleep patterns
What Does A Therapy Session For Depression Or Anxiety Look Like?
Therapy provides a safe place for you to talk through absolutely everything. A good therapist won’t just listen to you but will recognize patterns in your behavior and thoughts that you might have missed. They can give you completely unbiased opinions, and help find practical solutions to your mental health problems.
They will also help you identify triggers for your depression or anxiety. Triggers are things that make you feel worse than you already do. For example, coffee can make you more anxious after drinking it by increasing your heart rate – similar to what an anxiety attack will do.
Your therapist will give you self-awareness techniques to help manage harmful thoughts and feelings that hold you back from functioning normally. They will also show you meditation techniques, breathing exercises, or visualization exercises to teach you how to bring a sense of control back into any emotionally overwhelming situation you find yourself in. Therapy is more than just talking. Therapy involves learning skills and tools to work with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Do You Need Therapy?
Therapy is always helpful, and you don’t have to wait for things to get ‘bad enough’ before you look for help. There are certain situations where you should definitely consider finding a therapist to talk to.
- If your thought patterns, feelings, or daily behaviors begin holding you back from living a normal life. For example, if you aren’t sleeping at all, or you’re avoiding doing things you used to love doing.
- If your mental health starts causing physical harm. Depression and anxiety can manifest in very physical ways, including binging, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, digestive issues, and crippling headaches.
- If your time is valuable. Sometimes, you need to improve your daily performance at work, or you have to look after your family on a day-to-day basis. Therapy can help you meet professional and personal goals, keeping your mental health from damaging your productivity.
Getting Help With Depression & Anxiety In Broward County
At Fifth Street Counseling Center, we want to provide a safe place for you to work through and learn how to cope with your depression and anxiety so they don’t hold you back from a full and vibrant life. Contact us today to find out how we can help you or your loved one.